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placeholder March 18, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers
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Providential timing

Isn't it providential Pope Benedict XVI (known as the Teaching Pope) showed his humility in facing human mortality by announcing his resignation to coincide with the beginning of Lent, the week of Ash Wednesday?

Mary McMahon

Stop the experiment

Making abortion legal in America looks quite a bit like some atrocities performed by the Third Reich.

I think it's time to stop the experiment.

The Nazis believed the Jews weren't really people. Some high judges in Germany were tried as criminals. More than likely, some Catholic bishops will be going to jail before this is over.

We're part of the world's largest group of organized people: the Roman Catholic Church. If we move, we can change things.

Forgive me but I must regretfully report that the United States now holds the world record for the killing of innocents.

I think it's time to stop the experiment. This is a Catholic voice.

Kent A. Meredith
San Ramon

Scouting's "goodness"

As a veteran of WWII, with active service in western Germany, I became increasingly concerned about the direction this country is going. It is with trepidation and my opinion that we are no longer a United States of America. Not only is it lie, cheat and steal, but also illicit drugs, tobacco, alcohol, overmedicating, gambling, obesity, personal appearance and behavior, but it seems we have also given up on morals for the human being, whether in this or other countries.

To my chagrin, in the early 1950s, I noticed schools had changed by downgrading education, where we graded on deportment all the way up to the 12th grade. All that has now been eliminated. Where was character to be developed?

I knew from my military experience that the Armed Forces needed it to have a trainable and disciplined fighting force. It turns out that was the last war we won, even against an equally superior enemy, and we won that war convincingly.

As I married, and in time had children, I saw that with no discipline they could quickly be led astray and into trouble. I needed to get my sons into something that would develop their minds in ways schools could not. So I took training to become a scoutmaster. It wasn't only my sons that could benefit but other children of WWII vets. The whole program captured my interest and I served 14 years as scoutmaster in my church. I was also selected nationally to the adult training staff (Wood Badge) serving some four years on it.

The scout program itself interested me because parts of it were similar to the military and gave each boy the opportunity to accomplish the top ranking of Eagle. But of greater importance was the total content of the program which developed their minds, patience and opportunities for real life experiences in wholesome ways. Using the Socratic method of teaching, each boy learned values, not only in survival, but in self-discipline and character. Consider that the development began with: "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."

The Scout Law consisted of: "Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent."

The Scout Motto: "Be prepared." The Scout Slogan: "Do a good turn daily."

"On my honor" means, "by giving one's word, that speaker is promising to be guided by the words of the scout oath."

"Duty to God" means, "A scout's duty includes following the teachings of religious leaders every day and by service, worship and respect." Being reverent includes "duty to God and being faithful in one's religious duties."

With attacks on the scouting program, I have to wonder, is someone trying to destroy this country that I fought for in a war? After all, this is a program designed to build Godly character in our nation's youth and adult leaders. The program's purpose is designed to eliminate all forms of violence and encourage respect for the natural world and survival. If one really thinks about the values that are taught, the entire program is a winner.

Even though there may be active forces trying to destroy scouting, we need to make our nation and the world safe and great, keeping boy scouting as it is and to eventually develop wholesome leaders who demonstrate all of the values of the program. Once again, I ask you to think earnestly about the real goodness that comes out of a wholesome boy scout troop, which, if properly imbued, can enrich this nation and maybe even the world.

Alfred F. Lang
Eugene, Oregon

NBC outrages Christians

Recently NBC "Saturday Night Live" broadcast an episode that should outrage every Christian. It is entitled DJesus Uncrossed and is intended to spoof the latest Quentin Tarantino film, "Django Unchained."

In it the resurrected Jesus and his apostles seek vengeance on the Romans for their role in the resurrection. Not only is the premise the polar opposite of the teachings of our Lord on forgiveness, but the violence depicted is disgusting and outrageous.

I do not comprehend how NBC thought it would be acceptable to Christians to air such a violent and distasteful episode. It is an insult to Christian sensibilities. I can't help but think that, were it Jews, Muslims, or any other religion being insulted in this way, that the uproar would be heard all over the country. We as Catholic Christians must stand up and let NBC know that we are insulted and offended.

You can view the clip at NBC.com. Click on Saturday Night Live, video, Episode 14 Christoph Waltz, new Tarantino Movie: DJesus Uncrossed.

Ellen Docili

Hopeful signs

There are hopeful signs these days.

The Vatican has recently given approval to the German bishops' proposed "Plan B" that hinders conception after rape. This plan reflects an " 'unassailable rule' that has been proposed by the Catholic Church the past 50 years, said Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. 'To consider the possibility of using a drug whose active ingredient is a contraceptive in the case of a woman who has been raped seems acceptable to me.'"

The Council on Society and Family of the Bishops of France has endorsed an improved "Pact of Civil Solidarity" for LGBTs as an alternative to instituting homosexual marriage.

In his new book, George Weigel (no liberal, he!) lays out recommendations for restructuring the Curia to make it more representative of the faith and more effective in advancing the church's mission.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, retired Archbishop of Westminster, said the successor to Benedict XVI would need to be able to tackle reform of the Roman Curia. Two British bishops, Tom Burns (Menevia in Wales) and Kieran Conroy (Brighton and Arundel), have publicly called for a more collegial approach to church government including a call for decentralization in and the Curia, echoing the 2004 call of Cardinal Carlo Martini, retired Archbishop of Milan, to do the same.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna recently told the Austrian weekly Profil there is "scope for reform as far as the administration of the Vatican was concerned."

The papacy is over-centralized, and the principle of collegiality, one of the most important ideas to emerge from the Second Vatican Council, has been effectively shorn of any force because of Apostolos Suos, par. 23 (1998), drafted by Josef Ratzinger when he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II. The laity also have to be brought fully on board and more than one apparatus created for their voices to be heard — particularly the voices of women.

For whatever reason, many church officials have appeared to be reluctant up until now to "go against the grain" as they saw it being promoted in Rome. Now they are apparently beginning to rediscover their voices. One can only hope that the US episcopal leaders will follow suit sooner rather than later.

Jim McCrea

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Letters to the editor provide a forum for readers to engage in an open exchange of opinions and concerns in a climate of respect and civil discourse. The opinions expressed are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the Catholic Voice or the Diocese of Oakland. While a full spectrum of opinions will sometimes include those which dissent from Church teaching or contradict the natural moral law, it is hoped that this forum will help our readers to understand better others’ thinking on critical issues facing the Church at this time.

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